Chelsea FC

Chelsea Football Club is a professional football club based in London, England, that competes in the Premier League, the highest tier of English football. The club has won eight League titles, eight FA Cups, five League Cups, four FA Community Shields, one UEFA Europa League, one UEFA Super Cup, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and one UEFA Champions League.[4][5][6]

Founded in 1905, the club's home ground since then has been Stamford Bridge.[7] Chelsea won its only First Division title in 1955, but saw limited success in various cup competitions until 2003, when the club was purchased by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.[8] Chelsea then saw heavy investment, and have since won eighteen honours under Abramovich.[9]

José Mourinho is the club's most successful manager in terms of the number of major honours won, and his title-winning team set an English record for points between 2004 and 2005.[note 1] Chelsea have traditionally wore a royal blue kit with white socks, and the club's crest features a ceremonial lion rampant regardant holding a staff.[10] The club have rivalries with neighbouring clubs Fulham, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur.

In terms of club value, Chelsea are the seventh most valuable football club in the world, worth £1.54 billion ($2.06 billion), and are the eighth highest-earning football club in the world, with earnings of over €428 million in the 2017–18 season.[11][12] Based on attendance figures, the club have the sixth-largest fanbase in England.

Stadium: Stamford Bridge

Chelsea have only had one home ground, Stamford Bridge, where they have played since the team's foundation. It was officially opened on 28 April 1877 and for the first 28 years of its existence it was used almost exclusively by the London Athletic Club as an arena for athletics meetings and not at all for football. In 1904 the ground was acquired by businessman Gus Mears and his brother Joseph, who had also purchased nearby land (formerly a large market garden) with the aim of staging football matches on the now 12.5 acre (51,000 m²) site.[39] Stamford Bridge was designed for the Mears family by the noted football architect Archibald Leitch, who had also designed Ibrox, Craven Cottage and Hampden Park.[40] Most football clubs were founded first, and then sought grounds in which to play, but Chelsea were founded for Stamford Bridge.

Starting with an open bowl-like design and one covered terrace, Stamford Bridge had an original capacity of around 100,000.[39] The early 1930s saw the construction of a terrace on the southern part of the ground with a roof that covered around one fifth of the stand. It eventually became known as the "Shed End", the home of Chelsea's most loyal and vocal supporters, particularly during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The exact origins of the name are unclear, but the fact that the roof looked like a corrugated iron shed roof played a part.[39]

In the early 1970s, the club's owners announced a modernisation of Stamford Bridge with plans for a state-of-the-art 50,000 all-seater stadium.[39] Work began on the East Stand in 1972 but the project was beset with problems and was never completed; the cost brought the club close to bankruptcy, culminating in the freehold being sold to property developers. Following a long legal battle, it was not until the mid-1990s that Chelsea's future at the stadium was secured and renovation work resumed.[39] The north, west and southern parts of the ground were converted into all-seater stands and moved closer to the pitch, a process completed by 2001.

When Stamford Bridge was redeveloped in the Bates era many additional features were added to the complex including two hotels, apartments, bars, restaurants, the Chelsea Megastore, and an interactive visitor attraction called Chelsea World of Sport. The intention was that these facilities would provide extra revenue to support the football side of the business, but they were less successful than hoped and before the Abramovich takeover in 2003 the debt taken on to finance them was a major burden on the club. Soon after the takeover a decision was taken to drop the "Chelsea Village" brand and refocus on Chelsea as a football club. However, the stadium is sometimes still referred to as part of "Chelsea Village" or "The Village".

The Stamford Bridge freehold, the pitch, the turnstiles and Chelsea's naming rights are now owned by Chelsea Pitch Owners, a non-profit organisation in which fans are the shareholders. The CPO was created to ensure the stadium could never again be sold to developers. As a condition for using the Chelsea FC name, the club has to play its first team matches at Stamford Bridge, which means that if the club moves to a new stadium, they may have to change their name.[41] Chelsea's training ground is located in Cobham, Surrey. Chelsea moved to Cobham in 2004. Their previous training ground in Harlington was taken over by QPR in 2005.[42] The new training facilities in Cobham were completed in 2007.[43]

Stamford Bridge has been used for a variety of other sporting events since 1905. It hosted the FA Cup Final from 1920 to 1922,[44] has held ten FA Cup Semi-finals (most recently in 1978), ten FA Charity Shield matches (the last in 1970), and three England international matches, the last in 1932; it was also the venue for an unofficial Victory International in 1946.[45] The 2013 UEFA Women's Champions League Final was played at Stamford Bridge.[46]

 

View from the West Stand of Stamford Bridge during a Champions League game, 2008

In October 1905 it hosted a rugby union match between the All Blacks and Middlesex,[47] and in 1914 hosted a baseball match between the touring New York Giants and the Chicago White Sox.[48] It was the venue for a boxing match between world flyweight champion Jimmy Wilde and Joe Conn in 1918.[49] The running track was used for dirt track racing between 1928 and 1932,[50] greyhound racing from 1933 to 1968, and Midget car racing in 1948.[51] In 1980, Stamford Bridge hosted the first international floodlit cricket match in the UK, between Essex and the West Indies.[52] It was also the home stadium of the London Monarchs American Football team for the 1997 season.[53]

The current club ownership have stated that a larger stadium is necessary in order for Chelsea to stay competitive with rival clubs who have significantly larger stadia, such as Arsenal and Manchester United.[54] Owing to its location next to a main road and two railway lines, fans can only enter the ground via the Fulham Road exits, which places constraints on expansion due to health and safety regulations.[55] The club have consistently affirmed their desire to keep Chelsea at their current home,[56][57][58] but have nonetheless been linked with a move to various nearby sites, including the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Battersea Power Station and the Chelsea Barracks.[59] In October 2011, a proposal from the club to buy back the freehold to the land on which Stamford Bridge sits was voted down by Chelsea Pitch Owners shareholders.[60] In May 2012, the club made a formal bid to purchase Battersea Power Station, with a view to developing the site into a new stadium,[61] but lost out to a Malaysian consortium.[62] The club subsequently announced plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge into a 60,000-seater stadium.[63] On 11 January 2017 it was announced that the stadium was given the go ahead from Hammersmith and Fulham council for the new 60,000 stadium to be built.[64][65] However, on 31 May 2018, the club released a statement via their website stating that "Chelsea Football Club announces today that it has put its new stadium project on hold. No further pre-construction design and planning work will occur." The statement went on to elaborate that "The decision was made due to the current unfavourable investment climate

Full name: Chelsea Football Club

Nickname(s): The Blues, The Pensioners[1]

Short name: CFC, CHE

Founded: 10 March 1905; 113 years ago[2]

Ground: Stamford Bridge

Capacity: 40,853 [3]

Coordinates51°28′54″N 0°11′28″
Owner: Roman Abramovich

Chairman: Bruce Buck

Manager: Maurizio Sarri

League: Premier League

Web site: www.chelseafc.com

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